Wednesday, November 5, 2014

#0081: Mutagen Man

If you polled 100 people on their favourite Ninja Turtles character, the results would probably not surprise you. The Turtles themselves would command about 86% of the vote. The more edgy participants would say Shredder. True geniuses would answer Krang. One fucker would ruin the data by saying Keno.

Odds are, ain't nobody going with the Mutagen Man. Ain't nobody, and we even asked his mama.

However, Turtles was a marketing machine like few others, and because of the nature of the content, having a bevy of auxiliary characters you rarely saw on the cartoon made sense. Because a) it's a show about mutant animals. If you slap enough of a backstory on it, it's not hard to believe that an evil snake or a heroic moose might appear at some point. And b) despite our ignorance, the Ninja Turtles was more than just the 80's cartoon series. It was (and is) a comic first to many people, it just so happened that the cartoon was what made it explode. Then The Next Mutation happened, and everyone ran far far away.

But the Mutagen Man stands alone from the others a fair bit. Partly because he's hideous and smelly and nobody wants to stand too close to him, but mostly because he is just incredibly different from your typical Turtle toy. Originally mocked up as a design for Playmates, the Mutagen Man, formerly Seymour Gutz - yuk yuk - was a delivery boy who came upon some Mutagen that gave him a kind of Mortal Kombat Fatality, collapsing him into nothing but organs. If I were him, living in a world filled with badass ninja turtles and samurai rabbits, I would be mighty pissed off. Sadly, I suppose his fate was much more realistic for anyone messing around with toxic goo.

Seymour fashions himself a containment suit to hold all of his bits in, and off he goes! He's a hideous brain fellow that even Krang feels icky about. As you can see, his eyes and grey matter proudly peer out at you from within the suit. Originally filled with water, he also had a heart and other nondescript organs that would float within his casing. The water has long since dried up, so now they just rattle around like a particularly sinister castanet. I have a vague feeling that the top section opens up to give him a refill, but I'm really not that fazed about whether I ever see his spleen drifting about again.

In the cartoon, he possesses the ability to shapeshift, and the Turtles are able to give him a cure that allows him to take on any form he wants permanently. He decides on that of an attractive man, and that's the last we ever see of him. Sadly, the 'Sexy Seymour Gutz' action figure never saw the light of day, even when the toys had strange offshoots like beach Turtles, birthday party Turtles and Leonard Nimoy Turtles. Here's a funny hindsight for you: my parents never bitched once, not ONCE, about why it was I needed eight hundred different Raphael toys. It was like Malibu Stacy's new hat. I wanted it wanted it wanted it, though in all fairness, Raphael's new hats allowed him to do backflips, shoot pizzas and even talk. Those talking toys were fucking terrifying if you did it wrong.

But enough about that. Mutagen Man does none of these things. He initially came with various knick knacks that I have of course lost, including a hose and tank apparatus that plugged into his back that may actually be critical to his survival, a menacing gun of sunshine yellow, and some sort of... little hook things. I don't know what they were. They looked like thumb screws. The point is, now that I've Googled these images, I do vaguely recall seeing these things somewhere in the depths of the toy chest at some point, not realising that they were the property of Mr. Gutz.

But that is neither here nor there. I doubt some avid collector is going to see this unpackaged, mildly knicked up toy and scoff at its lack of accessories. Unless he actually intended to play with it, and simply can't get over the notion that the Mutagen Man has carelessly misplaced his gun and breathing apparatus somewhere, liable to be found by small children at risk of shooting people and breathing freely.

Of special mention is the rather gruesome little details this fun friend possesses. Excellently detailed exposed muscular tissue and a misshapen, warty layer of skin cover his arms and legs, and within his tank, bulging eyeballs and a tiny screaming little face reminiscent of a shrunken head. Honestly, he may be the second scariest figure in Turtles history, second to only the deranged Pizza Face. I suppose it depends on what makes your skin crawl more, an overweight, bedraggled chef with a pizza wheel for a foot, or Playmates' take on motherfucking Cain from Robocop 2.

If you told me the Mutagen Man was an international drug lord, I would totally believe you. Hell, if you told me Pizza Face was an international drug lord, I would totally believe you. New York, man... New York!

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